Not that resale value is everything, but one of the first rules of home investing is that the best value for your money comes from the kitchen and bathrooms. These are the two most remodeled areas of the home for that reason. These are also two areas where design trends come and go the quickest, and where built-in hardware and features see the most consistent use.
When looking into what to use when remodeling your bathroom, you’d be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed with the sheer number of options of materials and styles available to you for countertops, flooring and showers – many of which being one of any number of stone options. So, we decided to put together this guide to help you figure out what would work best for your needs.
This is often the first thing that comes to people’s minds when they think of a luxurious or well-appointed bathroom – a fact that has been true going all the way back to ancient Greek and Roman times. There isn’t a more timeless option out there as far as we’re concerned. There is a wide range of shades and looks you can get from marble as well, from deep blacks to pure white with dramatic grey streaking.
The caveat here is that marble is one of the more expensive options on this list, and due to its relative softness and high porosity, it requires a bit more maintenance than others as well. Marble, like most natural stone, needs to be sealed regularly in order to avoid stains and etching. This is especially important in the bathroom or showers where exposure to moisture is inevitable.
Limestone is one of the most common options for bathroom floors and showers. Usually coming with a more natural-looking honed finish, limestone offers plenty of grip for use in and around showers, making it a safer alternative than some smooth ceramic tile or polished stone. With warm tan and brown features, limestone makes for a cozy feeling bathroom, especially when lit with natural light.
Limestone has three different classifications for density, as the stone can vary greatly in porosity. Class III limestone has a low absorption rate of 3% or lower but is more expensive as a result. The lower absorption rate makes for less of a chance for staining and makes removing those stains easier if it does happen.
Remaining one of the most versatile stone options available, slate sets itself apart in terms of both looks as well as functionality. If you picture slate in your head, you are probably met with images of dark grey and uniform stone (or maybe a chalkboard), but slate can be had in shades of tan. green, violet, copper, red as well as deep black. Clefted slate also naturally makes for a grippy surface underfoot, perfect for a bathroom floor or shower.
Slate is generally considered to be quite a durable material, but it is more susceptible to damage than some others on this list, such as granite. Due to the way it was formed from sedimentary rock, chips and unwanted clefting are possible if something is dropped on it. Also, the unique texture of the stone makes for more difficult DIY installation, and it is susceptible to cracking over time if not installed correctly.
As close of a contender to marble for taking the crown of most timeless stone on this list, granite is another very popular choice for bathroom countertops and flooring. It is also the hardest stone on this list, making it the least susceptible to cracking. Granite can also be had in a wide range of shades and styles, from relatively uniform to dramatic streaking and pebbling.
Granite usually isn’t the cheapest material out there, but in the case of prefabricated vanities, you can save some money and still have that high-end look and feel of real granite. This is usually done by cutting thinner than usual slabs and shaping them out identically in bulk in order to reduce costs. You still get the same benefits and high-end look that so many homeowners are lusting after.
Another common choice for bathroom flooring as well as outdoor patios and pool decks, travertine is right at home in modern rustic theme. Travertine is comparable in shade and color to limestone, but can usually be had with a wider range of brown/tan shades and with more dramatic streaking patterns.
The downside here is that travertine tends to be more porous than some other options. This both makes for a better gripping surface when wet, but also means that it needs to be sealed more often than some other stone on this list. It does tend to be more expensive than limestone as well.
Watch Your Grout:
When talking about any sort of tiling (such as a bathroom floor or shower), it needs to be said that the health of your grout largely dictates the health of your tile in general. Grout is even more porous than the stone it is holding together, meaning water and other moisture can and will seep into it and cause issues.
Waterlogged grout is more likely to deteriorate and allow more water beneath the surface. Water collecting under the tile can pool and breed mildew and bacteria, as well as gradually break down the putty under the tiles themselves, leading to cracking.
To avoid this, make sure to seal your grout at the same time you seal your stone. Sealing should be done at least every 6-12 months, but that greatly depends on the kind of use your stone sees and the porosity of the stone. You can check out our full guide on caring for your grout here.
Looking to read up on more natural stone care tips? Check out all the helpful resources we have available here, or give our stone care experts with three generations of expertise a call at 1-800-475-STONE. Also, to make sure you get the most out of your investment, be sure to check out our full line of stone care products!